BBWAA Awards Predictions
The final business of the 2019 MLB season will come to a close this week with the announcement of the annual Baseball Writers Association of America (BBWAA) award winners this week starting tonight with the Rookies of the Year, concluding with the Most Valuable Players on Thursday. Here are my thoughts on who deserves to win and who is most likely to take home the hardware.
Rookie of the Year
American League Finalists: Yordan Álvarez, Astros; Brandon Lowe, Rays; John Means, Orioles
Who Should Win: Álvarez hit .313/.412/.655 (OPS+ 173) in 87 games for Houston.
Who Will Win: Álvarez – helps to be an important piece on the best regular-season team in the majors.
National League Finalists: Pete Alonso, Mets; Mike Soroka, Atlanta franchise; Fernando Tatís Jr., Padres
Who Should Win: This contest is really between Alonso and Tatís Jr. Alonso set a franchise home run record and took home the overall MLB home run crown in his first season, hitting .260/.358/.583 (OPS+ 148) in 161 games. Tatís missed much of the second half due to injury but posted a slash line of .317/.590/.969 (OPS+ 152). I have to lean towards the home run king who played a full season.
Who Will Win: As stated above, Alonso played a full season and paced MLB with 53 bombs, setting a franchise record in the process.
Manager of the Year
American League Finalists: Rocco Baldelli, Twins; Aaron Boone, Yankees; Kevin Cash, Rays
Who Should Win: Cash’s squad finished the year with a Wild Card spot despite injuries, and the Rays pitching staff was arguably the best in MLB (1st in fWAR and FIP, 2nd in SIERA, 3rd in ERA).
Who Will Win: Boone’s Yankees won 103 games with Giancarlo Stanton and Aaron Judge spending significant time on the IL.
National League Finalists: Craig Counsell, Brewers (fuck the Brewers); Mike Shildt, Cardinals (fuck them too); Brian Snitker, Atlanta franchise (drop the chop!)
Who Should Win: Snitker – I am biased as disclosed above.
Who Will Win: Shildt’s Cardinals came from behind to win the Central Division after the Cubs and Brewers shit the bed.
Cy Young Award
American League Finalists: Gerrit Cole, Astros; Charlie Morton, Rays; Justin Verlander, Astros
Who Should Win: This contest has been viewed as between Cole and Verlander for most of the year. Cole led the majors in strikeouts (326), K9 (13.8) and ERA+ (185), with a league-best ERA (2.50) and FIP (2.64).
Who Will Win: Cole. Everybody loves punchouts.
National League Finalists: Jacob deGrom, Mets; Hyun-Jin Ryu, Dodgers; Max Scherzer, Nationals
Who Should Win: Ryu finished with the best ERA (2.32) and BB9 rate (1.2) in the majors, posting a league-best ERA+ (179) in 29 starts.
Who Will Win: deGrom is the reigning Cy Young winner and recorded an NL-high 255 strikeouts.
Most Valuable Player
American League Finalists: Alex Bregman, Astros; Marcus Semien, Athletics; Mike Trout, Angels
Who Should Win: Trout led the American league in OPS (1.083) and slugging percentage (.645) with MLB’s best OPS+ (185) and on-base percentage (.438). He was edged out for the AL home run title by Jorge Soler after missing the final month of the season, finishing with 45 home runs to Soler’s 48.
Who Will Win: It seems like every year, writers are looking for an excuse to vote for anyone but Trout. Bregman led the Astros to 107 regular season wins, hitting .296/.423/.592 (OPS+ 162) and playing two positions (3rd base and shortstop).
National League Finalists: Cody Bellinger, Dodgers; Anthony Rendon, Nationals; Christian Yelich, Brewers (fuck the Brewers)
Who Should Win: It pains me to give credit to a Brewer, but Yelich followed up his 2018 MVP season with an even better campaign in 2019. His batting average (.329), on-base percentage (.429) and OPS+ (179) were the best in the NL. He finished the year with an MLB-best slugging percentage (.671) and OPS (1.100), setting a career high home run total (44).
Who Will Win: Bellinger was the heart of the Dodgers’ 106-win offense, slashing .305/.406/.629 with 47 home runs, 115 RBI and 121 runs scored, tying Yelich with 7.8 fWAR. The two-time All-Star and 2017 Rookie of the Year is also defensively versatile, with time in right field, center field and first base for LA in 2019.
The Rookie of the Year will be awarded tonight. Manager of the Year will follow on Tuesday, with Cy Young on Wednesday and MVP on Thursday. Further coverage will follow when I grade these predictions against the actual results!